Tuesday 20 February 2018

Deadly suicide bomb at Kuwait mosque blamed on young Saudi Arabian

Bomber: Fahd Suliman Abdul-Muhsen al-Qabaa
Bomber: Fahd Suliman Abdul-Muhsen al-Qabaa

Ahmed Hagagy

Kuwait has identified the suicide bomber behind its worst militant attack as a young Saudi Arabian man, and said it had detained the driver of the vehicle that took him to a Shi’ite Muslim mosque where he killed 27 people.

The disclosure of the bomber’s Saudi nationality is likely to focus the attention of authorities investigating Friday’s suicide bombing on ties between Islamists in the small Gulf state and those in its larger, more conservative neighbour.

Kuwait named the bomber as Fahd Suliman Abdul-Muhsen al-Qabaa and said he flew into Kuwait’s airport at dawn on Friday, only hours before he detonated an explosives-laden vest at Kuwait City’s Imam al-Sadeq mosque.

It was not known where Qabaa had arrived from, but the timing of his arrival suggests he had a network already in place in Kuwait.

The ministry said it was searching for more partners and aides in this “despicable crime”, adding Qabaa had been born in 1992, putting him in his early 20s.

Isil’s Saudi Arabian arm claimed responsibility for the attack on the mosque, where 2,000 worshippers were praying at the time. It was one of three attacks on three continents that day apparently linked to hardline Islamists.

The attack was the most significant act of Sunni militant violence in Kuwait since 2005, when an al-Qa’ida linked group calling itself the Peninsula Lions clashed with security forces in the streets of Kuwait City. Nine Islamists and four security force members were killed in the gun battles.

The bombing has sharply heightened regional security concerns because Isil appears to be making good on its threat to step up attacks in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The group, seeking to expand from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, says its priority target is the Arabian peninsula and in particular Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s holiest places, from where it plans to expel Shi’ite Muslims.

Irish Independent

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